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Series/Special. The future of the political parties.

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Washington 9, Romney 6, Willie Horton 5, Mississippi 5, Us 5, George Bush 4, United States 2, Obama Administration 2, Ronald Reagan 2, Haley Barbour 2, Barbour 2, Donna 2, Virginia 2, Obama 2, Donna Brazile 1, Doug Sosnik 1, Kasich 1, John Kasich 1, Joseph Tumulty 1, Harry Eid 1,
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  CSPAN    Leading Authorities Inc. Forum    Series/Special. The future  
   of the political parties.  

    March 24, 2013
    9:35 - 10:20pm EDT  

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the chairman has been on since, i believe, 2009. his term will be up next year. you expect to see some turnover at the commission? >> we always have some turnover because we have staggered terms. we shall see. i get asked this question every couple of years. for all sevenere years, and i get asked at points like this, and we will see. >> thinking about what? >> about what to do next. i have thought about that several times. i do not think we should stay in these positions forever. at the same time, i love my job. part of what is keeping the year, and we have a lot of important work to do. >> this past week, the commissioner and chairman announced their resignations from the fcc. we spoke with him before his
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announcement. hear more on "the communicators" on c-span2. now, former republican and democratic national committee chairman discuss the future of the political parties. participants included haley barbour and others. it was held in washington, d.c., and it was moderated by a correspondent. this is about 45 minutes. [applause] >> good morning. we are so glad to have you with us with this set of panelists who have not been on the sidelines. what i like about this is we're with people who have been in the room when decisions are made, they have been on the forefront when the sunshine of politics and the heat of politics has been bearing down on them.
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they know what it is like and can give us a road map of where things might be headed. we will have some fun, and because my day job lets me ask lots of questions, i want to make sure i ask the audience to think about things they want to hear from you directly. we hope our audience will think of questions. we will get to those in a little bit. let me start with you, governor. there was a much focus on what is the identity of the republican party, where will it go, and have the defeats in the presidential races made an impact in a way that would actually get people a reason to rethink what the party should be. there has been a lot of soul- searching. think the party stands right now? >> you should have soul searching, particularly if you have an election like 2012 where there
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were a lot of things that made you feel like republicans could have won. not very popular. you have a very weak economy. it was interesting that in the obama recovery, family income went down to $2,500 a year, where during the recession, income went down $1,500 a year. families were doing worse, yet extremely good campaign, and he won despite his disadvantages and he won frankly in a predictable way. he made the election about his opponent. the romney people allowed obama to define romney. this was rather than romney defining romney, and that is why it is important for republicans we do wrong? the idea that the republican party is in some terrible shape -- certainly i do not buy that.
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not buy that? >> i do not. i have been around since 1968. i have seen terrible shape. i remember watergate, i remember when the 13% of americans republicans, and the national if we should change the name of the party. whispereds not been now. >> for 40 years, the most number of republicans in the house was 192. today we have 230 something, and it is absolutely right to figure out what you did wrong, and the obama people outperformed republicans in a number of ways. the idea that we are on the brink of going out of business is overstated. >> do you think that there is
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with the report that the chairman put together and if the republican party is willing to commit to reach out, is that the answer to try to expand the party by paying people to put operatives out there, to make that connection, to look for ways to expand the party? who it attracts? >> that is a big part of it. i commend the chairman. it was a very thoughtful, thorough report. it has some good recommendations. that is one of them. the fact is the obama campaign and the democrats did a good job of having people out there. they did that better than we did. they had a presence in all communities you had that you needed to turn out, to win. we need to be in the community year round, cycle through cycle, not just in the last three months of an election. having storefront campaign
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headquarters and party headquarters, people in the committee all the time is an important part. a lot of the focus has been on data and the advantage the obama campaign had with data crunching and analyzing and sifting. you have to apply the data, and you do that by having people out there in the communities talking to those folks that you have targeted. i think that would be huge. >> donna, does it worry you that they will have democrats on their heels? >> i have put that aside "shade of gray" volume 3. i'm halfway through the report, and it reads like something like i have never seen before. if this was a movie, it would on the sci-fi channel. when you take a look at what republicans have come up with problems they faced, we are not in the dinosaurs' age, and it is that the obama
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campaign had a good analytical team, operatives, but they had a good message, and a great message that could reach out to not only voters who turned out in 2008, but expand on that coalition. the obama campaign had a great operation in place. while we sit back and figure when republicans will revive, between the establishment wing and the tea party wing, i am for the tea party one. keep going. i like these candidate. they make me look sane. [laughter] >> i would not exaggerate, donna. the truth of the matter is both political parties are in pretty rough shape. while the republicans have 10%,
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we have 30%. 2014 is important for the democratic party. we have to look at the electorate and make sure that our message and future messages will galvanize and motivate those to turn out voters as well. >> how long is the democratic party the party of barack obama? when does that shift so it goes back to the clinton era, if hillary chooses to run? when does that shift take place? >> as a president goes through a second term, interest in the president starts to go to the congressional wing of the party. what obama is trying to achieve for his legacy does not necessarily line up with what
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congressional democrats are interested in, in making a distinction between who they are and republicans. i want to reinforce democrats are not in as bad as a shape as republicans. the democrats really are not attached to obama like republicans were to reagan. when obama ran, he ran against the establishment of a party. he did not have a "democrat" on his bumper sticker. his identity was to be separate from washington. he did not campaign for democrats. his appeal is less transferable for democrats going forward than they did for a type of who had been elected like bill clinton.
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>> that is what becomes a case in the democratic party? >> you guys did a great job. jimmy carter was president four years, but you made him the party for 16 years. [laughter] waslmost as long as nixon the head of the republican party. >> we are going to make george bush the president of the now for quite a while, and we will continue that. 1/2eally only have 1 political parties in the country now. there is a misreading of the republican party in terms ofthe fact of the matter is republican party is the dominant political party from 1978 until the summer party ran outhe of gas in the summer of 2005, the effects of the war, katrina, where people would say, what is wrong withthey have had seven or
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eight years now where republicans are roaming around in terms of their future, and now thannot closer they were then. political parties cannot fix the problem of a party, but they have to avoid becoming a liability. the job of the political party is to make a flat playing field, so the future of either party will determine who the nominee is and the next president is. until republicans take the white house back, they will be defined as a congressional party, the tea party, great for us, and whoever is the craziest person gets on tv and gets the attention -- that will not change for the next three years. is in charge of the republican party. >> what i hear on the road is people who are in communities, in south carolina, where there
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is a primary race, and you talk to people who say we do not want washington to tell us, we do not want the establishment. you have been part of the establishment and the leader of your state. where do you think the war is the party about who should be directing it? there is much focus about having quality candidates republicans winning their primaries, when you look at this next senatorial group of candidates, and there are some faces that might be favorable. is there a war against the establishment and washington, or do some of the senate candidates who were not the ideal -- have people come to terms with that? >> washington is the problem. >> which. how many minutes in did we get before that? >> my point is the idea that republicans thinking washington is the problem is not new, and
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it was prominent when we were in our zenith. governors, and the control most of the state legislatures, governor's mansions, and there's a difference between state government and the federal government. the absurdity in a state capital, that we did not have a budget for three years, yet here in washington the senate did not pass a budget for three years and the president just not serious about what americans think is the biggest problem of that country. they do not even have a budget for three years? state government, closer to the people, has to get things done. i used to tell trent lott, the difference between governors and senators is senators talk doing things and governors do things. there's a lot of truth to democrat governors as well. their party is so committed to washington that you do not see
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many of these governors who are willing to talk the way republican governors are about how we do a better job at the state level. bipartisanship. i like to think i had a relative success will governorship, but eight of my governor, i have a democrat house majority, and seven of my years, i had a democrat senate majority. we did not let that stop us from getting things done, and i think that is the way washington needs to work, and i think that is why way they do. >> the most frustrated senators you hear about are republicans. >> about whether or not there is a war going on, there is a war going on. we just had a war in the democratic party, and it was fun. some people said, what kind of democrat are you? i can be a democrat, a foreign
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-- a bland democrat, or passionate democrat. the truth is inside the republican party you have a passion that group of people, the tea party, that want representation in washington as well as in state capitals across the country, and they are fighting the establishment. these individuals say we do not want your luggage ticket, we do it is healthy to have people are passionate at the grass- roots level try to dictate and determine the future of the party and the vision of the party. but it is going on. >> as the party failed to harness the energy and enthusiasm of people who identify with the tea party? >> i do not think so. we control the house today because of the tea party. we gained because we had thesei
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came into the republican party in 1984 from the democratic party. i was a reagan democrat. i changed, and at that time there was a lot of friction inside the party from these conservative democrats from the south and ethnic democrats in we won. in 1994, a lot of perot voters were coming in. tea party coming in, and there is friction, but we won the in the midterm. i think we will win again in the next midterm. i do not think friction inside a party is a sign of dynamism, and the fact is over time this friction will ease a little bit and the focus will be on how to weave when against democrats.
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againstdo we win again the democrats. >> if force is good, it is overrated. i am glad that it is you all. in 1976 -- [indiscernible] the reagan wing of the party southwestern main-street republicans wrestling control of the party from the establishments of the northeast and midwest. goingpublican party is through that transition now of the tea party, the takeover of this party, and it is painful to go through the process. it is a healthy process. this is a bigger than life transition. what donna and i went through, three losing presidential campaigns, and the process takes a long time, and will reinvent
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yourself, but i think the republican party is only in the met early, middle stages, and it is not a battle between the establishment and movement conservatives. they are taking over this party. >> have the sparks from this friction driven by changing demography? is it about ideas and times we live in? is it about the use of technology, and what do you think is the biggest driver for the sort of turmoil within the republican party? >> i think is generational. we went from three losing, 1980, 1984, 1988 -- not 2000. >> we only came in first place. >> it is generational. as these parties to look at the electorate, the democratic changes that are undergoing in
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our country, i think there is a dying breed of republicans that i grew up with, the conservative business, low-tax and it is a natural fight, and i agree, i hope they continue to battle it out until after we get a woman in the white house and do some other things. then you all come back from the dead in 2050. sometime around that period of time. when the maya predicted the world would end in 2012, they were talking about republicans. [laughter] i see the democratic party, we have enormous challenges as well. i do not like the fact that my native south has a lot of republican governors.
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i like to make sure that the party is competitive in the south as all as in the northeast and the western part of the country. for that to happen, we have to make sure that we can articulate that vision the people in the south want us to have in terms of our role about government, but also the kind of country we want to be. right now i feel a lot better about the democratic party than i did four or five years ago, because it is a stronger party. >> the notion we have to spend money organizing or we did not do well because of technology, that is missing what is going on. the fact is for a generation republicans dominated politics on three issues -- foreign policy, taxes, and social issues. among social issues, they won the battle and lost the war. there is no single social issue in your favor going forward. on taxes, you stand for giving breaks to the rich. and on foreign policy, they did not support the bush foreign
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policy, so the issues that made that republican party dominant, all three issues are in democratic favor. until you deal with these problems, it does not matter what network you have. economic conservatives and smaller government, less intrusion, and with they will have to figure out how to mollify the social movement. >> i do not think anyone has suggested the only thing that republicans are waiting right now is doing any better databases and do we need more storefront offices. i was responding to a question directly about that. there is a lot of discussion going on right now about positioning, policies, looking for some of integrating new program pauses, how do we
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explain our policies better. i do not accept the premise that there is no doubt when you at the gay marriage issue, that is very generational, it moved faster than any social issue i have ever seen. on the flip side, the pro-life argument has gained steam on pro-life side of things. you can argue that taxpayers pay for contraceptives. away from the republican party. ideas, and there is no doubt, and this is in the report, that we have to identify and talk about issues and that weigh more resonant and seems less out of touch with majorities of voters. this is not just introspection about data and tactics. there is more -- here in this discussion. >> i think doug has a point, but it is a broader point.
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the republicans for a generation were the party of ideas in the united states. people look at reagan and reagan's policies, the ideas that made this country better, making our economy is stronger, making prosperity more encompassing for people all around. we have become now the party that does not offer that, does not seem to talk about that. we got to regain our position as our party of ideas, and we have to give people something to vote for. having said that, we have done a very poor job at come up to it early in the last campaign, of causing the democrats to be held accountable for their policies. we came through a recession that was the deepest recession
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since the early 1980's, yet nobody on our side did anything effective like to compare these two big recessions, and what happened? and the three years after the recession was over under obama, economic growth was 2.4%, 1.8%, and they claim they created 6 million jobs in three years. let's say it is 6 million jobs. look at the previous deep recession. 7.4%,ic growth was 4.5%, 4.1%. the economy every year and that recovery crew twice as fast as any two-year period. here is another thing. the number of people working in the united states, we are at 58%
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of adults in the united states today are working. if we are going to have an administration that does a good job, people expect there to be opportunity, and we do not have the opportunity. republicans have but failed to hold democrats accountable for the terrible economy, and not succeeded in offering an alternative. i think that will be what >> one problem about that, on election day, by double digits, were people blamed george bush and not president obama for the economic problems in this country. he is by far the most unpopular ex-president. that was the problem with election day for you, trying to blend the obama administration for the mess in this country, where the public overwhelmingly believed it was george bush and republican congress have made that mess. >> i would suggest that romney did not do a good job of letting people have the facts that would cause them to hold the obama administration accountable for their policies.
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i do not take the difference and what you are saying -- > before these two begin wrestling -- we want to expand the conversation because we want to include questions. >> i am sorry, but having worked for governor romney and president bush, i feel obliged to make a couple of points. >> take your time. >> the bush library opens next week, and i believe as people look at his record compared to president obama's record, it will stack up very well, and history will be kind to him. in terms of governor romney, there are things the campaign did wrong. there is a lot of reflection on that. i think governor romney would have made a good president, and i would say also in terms of lessons learned, one of the
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lessons i learned is instead of being bad guy who leaves your happy home and wife and children and moves to a strange town for five months and lives in a studio apartment with a bed in the middle of the living room, to work on a campaign, the next time i will be the guy who complains about that. that is a better place to be. we cannot overlook a couple things. it is difficult to be a sitting president. -- to beat a sitting president. i knew that whether i was working for bush in 2004. also one of the things we need to take to account and the report does is republican parties in five of the last six elections has not won the majority of the votes or a plurality of the vote. there were mistakes, but there is a trend here that you talked about that has to be taken into account. sorry, i just wanted to jump in. >> i appreciate that you wanted to comment on that when your former boss is --
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>> loyalty is an important thing. >> loyalty is. let's open it up. let's see who has a question. >> i am from southern west virginia, and i was around to remember the southern strategy for nixon. i remember willie horton. i remember all the things the republican party was doing to divide during those years. i also understood that you were dividing that, that you were not against people in color. in this last election, blacks went 98%? 95 percent of 94%. hispanics went 71%. sian-americans went 75%. it is not hard to figure out what is going on. i have 10 children and five are below voting age, and they all understand and understood what the tea party and what some members of your extreme right were doing against this president. they understood what the code
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languages were, what the shadows were, and they said we did not buy it. >> do you have a question? >> is the republican party going to understand that you ave a problem with race, and you have a problem with some members of your party that are speaking out that knows back home understand the racial overtones? the demographics going forward are not in your favor? >> i am grateful to albert gore brought willie horton into the campaign and to the attention of the country, because that is where the willie horton deal came from. it happened in democratic primaries when al gore -- -- he attacked michael dukakis or willy horton.
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your greater point is a critical point for republicans. i come from a state that is 38% black. highest percentage population of any state. republicans like george bush and mitt romney get 5% or less. i got 20%-something mississippi from the blacks in mississippi, and i would like to think partially because i had a good record, but also because i tried. if your greater point is a critical point for we talk abou 27% of the hispanic vote after saying effectively we want your grandmother to self-deport, you know, i want to know who the 27% of hispanics who voted for him. [laughter] the truth of the matter is, not only is it easier to vote for somebody if you like them, it is easier to vote for somebody f you think they like you. this is a real -- this became more than about latinos, ecame about color.
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when asian-americans were both or democrats, then that says to me at all those chinese-americans who came here as republicans, because they were fleeing communism, all those vietnamese-americans, all those indian doctors and businessmen who were showing off -- who were taxpayers and they voted for a democrat, a left-wing democrat, by the way, a far shift to the left ompared to bill clinton -- that has to be in a lot of voters' minds is about color, about more than immigration policy, and what should republican do?
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you should do what i did in mississippi. go out and see people's votes, tell them why you think that is good for them. i did not get half the black vote in mississippi, but no democrat could come close to winning in mississippi if the republicans got 25%. >> i was chairman of the republican committee, we increased our share of the african-american and hispanic and asian-american vote. -- the hispanic vote went from 35% for bush in 2000 to 44% in 2004. the african-american vote went from 9% to 11%. still too low. the asian-american vote increased. i would always say and i was very aggressive in carrying our message, opportunity and economic growth, and upward mobility, black churches and spanish language television and radio, because i know that message resonates.
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i would say i know it is not in my interest as chairman of the republican national committee, for republicans to get 10% of the black vote cycle after cycle. most importantly,it is not in the interest of african-americans. it is not in the interest of the country for the parties to be racially divided. it is very important for republican candidates -- i am trying to chair the state committee, where we are trying to recruit african-americans, hispanic-americans, to run for state house all run the country so we have a pipeline of tim scotts, nikki haleys, marco ubios, and it is important for
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s to take our message, and one of the things i was encouraged by the report is a stark recognition of the importance of this. i call it conclusive desperate the conservative and conclusive and bring people into the party because of our message resonates. >> let's go to another question. yes? >> what the american people -- race is still a polarizing issue, but what those voters look for its acceptance and inclusion. when they feel that any political party is ignoring them or alienating them, they tend to become motivated to vote for or against that other party. >> you do not see this with republican governors. the fact is, governor barbour getting reelected with 20% of the black vote in mississippi is not outside the norm for republican governors. fact is, i was chairman of the campaign in virginia. i think mcdonnell got 23% of the black voters in virginia.
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you see in other states as well. we don't have the problem at the state level that we have at the national level. >> let's think lightning round. that was an important topic. of the things i was encouraged by the report is a stark recognition of the importance of this. i call it conclusive desperate the conservative and conclusive and bring people into the party because of our message resonates. >> or being struck by lightning? [laughter] >> that's good. i like that. >> i will let somebody on the stage take up this business about blaming willie horton on al gore. that is reprehensible. americans who watch pundits i know resonate with this statement, sometimes wrong, never in doubt. with that, i would like to hear from the republicans about why republicans never state
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their ideas or their case. they're always tearing down the president. they're never saying what they're for. and i think that contributes to the divide, the animosity, hatever. republicans can state what they are for it because there is a message there that does not get out. >> you may disagree relative to the willie horton ad, but what governor barbour said is 100% actually accurate. >> a republican running for -- >> well, why don't we move on from that. >> i am struck by your question, because we talked about earlier, the republican house of representatives in the last two years passed a udget. how much more -- a budget is, as we all were taught in high
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school, a plan reduced to numbers. the democratic senate for three years never took up a budget. the president's budget was never presented by harry eid. the republicans agreed to the president's budget in the senate so it could be voted on, and the vote was zero for the president's budget two years in a row. to say republicans are not for something -- republicans are presenting a plan of government and the democrats are saying let's leave everything on automatic pilot. what the news media may cover remains to be seen -- >> gentle nudge. if you're looking for ideas from either party, they are readily available in terms of covering it every day. i see each party lay out its vision on each topic. the question of what breaks through is different, but it is there for people who want to dive in and get a greater idea of what the parties want to say. nother question.
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>> in the next general election, the leading democratic candidates will be 70 years and older. doesn't that fly in the face of all this generational talk of what's coming in the future? and lastly --is chris christie to heavy to be heavy? >> age and weight in one question. >> no, i do not think he is too heavy. he is the most popular republican governor in the country right now. several of the republican governors are underwater. rick scott of florida and john kasich, so they have problems. in terms of 2016, this is going to be the first open election on both sides since 2008. i expect we will have a large field of candidates. there's no question that if hillary tosses herself into the
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ring, she will be a phenomenal candidate. there is a poll out today that she beats both jeb bush and marco rubio by double igits. so she is going to be a strong candidate. joe biden will be a strong candidate. we have an enormous number of good governors across the country, martin o'malley, governor cuomo, so i am looking forward to it. >> do you think voters in an aging society -- part of obama's appeal was young and vibrant. >> i'm never going to complain about people's age any more jennifer [laughter] >>obama's appeal was young and vibrant. does it matter? >> i think presidential politics is very generational. when the country moves to a next generation of leadership, they very rarely reach back and bring in an older generation.
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to a certain extent that was a factor for senator mccain in unning against obama and partly a factor in romney running against obama, and that is an interesting dynamic for the two most likely nominees who will be older on the democratic side. if you love our field, there's a lot of fresh, young leadership in the republican party to emerge that will bring about a generational change in he republican party that i think will be very healthy. if you look at marco rubio, paul ryan, kelly ayotte, some of our governors from a clear generational shift going on in the republican party moving forward, democrats may want to reach back. you made one other thing, which is kasich's numbers have been
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rising dramatically, where he is certainly not upside down. i suspect you will see that with some of these other governors as well. >> i have a couple minutes for last questions, and we will try to have swift answers. >> now that the elections are over, we really need government to work for us. as political strategists, is there a chance that compromise can be commendable -- can compromise be commendable and not an election year liability? >> let me just say i worked for ronald reagan. he compromised on everything. we had a democratic house with a huge majority. he had to. the real divided government can work. ronald reagan proved it could work. clinton proved it could work. those are guys who got huge legislation enacted. the reagan economic plan,
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1986 tax bill, immigration reform, social security reform -- here is the thing -- the president has got to lead. for four years we have had a president was not willing to take that kind of leadership to make congress work. i hope he will this term. >> i would say this is not the season -- compromise is not in the air. but i think that the republicans in the house realize it is in their political interest to turn the heat down and not have a food fight every few weeks for the american public. what i think is in the air and is happening is people from the far left and the far right are starting to come together against institutions and the governing parties, and you will see more of that. you saw it last week with the drones. you will see it with the banks on wall street. it's going to affect any of hese in the audience that have
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businesses that are impacted by the federal government in terms of getting money. there is increasingly from the left and right a coming together against the institutional class that they feel has run the country into the ground. >> very interesting. i want to say thank you to all of you and our audience. we appreciate your attention. these are folks who are in the room and know what it's like and do not hesitate to share their opinions. we thank you so very much. appreciate it. >> i would like to thank you for your masterful job of facilitating this panel and to our guests, governor haley barbour, donna brazile, ed gillespie, and doug sosnik. i don't know what you saw yesterday on television, but there was a clip of the at the ukrainian parliament, people not just going at each other verbally but had their fisticuffs out. and it is a testament that we can have a good discussion and keep it civil and smart, and
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that was our discussion today. i would like to thank our sponsors, thanks to all of you. if you enjoy it today's program, we hope you will keep in mind today's speakers as you plan for your programs for 2013 nd 2014. also keep in mind our work in design and production. that you very much, and have a great day. thank you. >> your look at the lift of presidential news conferences walsh journal. this was about 40 minutes. phone foin [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> in march 1914, joseph tumulty escorted about 100 reporters

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